Catholic restores handshakes

The former suspended practices have been restored by the Nigerian Catholic Bishops Conference as Ebola fears have been allayed by the recent declaration by WHO that Nigeria is free of the deadly disease.

Following the news of Nigeria being declared Ebola free by the World Health Organisation, the leadership of the Nigeria Catholic church has ordered the return of handshakes as a sign of peace during masses.

According to ¸ the Nigerian Catholic Bishops Conference at the weekend also ordered all its priests and the faithful to revert to the normal practices of receiving Holy Communion through the tongue, a practice that was stopped before because of the threat of the Ebola Virus. The Bishops also directed that holy water founts at the entrance of churches be filled again with holy water and never to be allowed to go dry any more.

All these practices were stopped after the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in July when the Bishop’s Conference met and issued a circular banning all these practice in a bid to curb the spread the deadly virus.

Now in a new circular that was signed by the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of, Alfred Adewale Matins, the Bishop’s Conference has instructed all Catholic churches in Nigeria to revert to the normal practices.

“I refer to our special circular of August, 2014 on the outbreak of Ebola Virus in which we directed that the ‘sign of peace’ through pastoral handshake be omitted, and the holy water fonts be left dry and permitted in the interim, the reception of Holy Communion in the hand, as an extraordinary practice while the Ebola alert was on. We thank God that the steps we took to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus, have been most helpful as Nigeria is now declared an Ebola free nation. To this end, we hereby direct that the church reverts to the normal and ordinary practices prior to the Ebola disease saga,” the statement reads.

The Bishops also praised God for the zero case status of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria and urged Nigerians to pray for the countries is still battling the virus.


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